Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. It is a condition where insulin production is absent because the immune system of the body attacks the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.
No one has yet established the reason why this happens. Type 1 diabetes may possibly be triggered by environmental factors and genetic predispositions.
Some experts assume that there are abnormal reactions happening in those cells, which are caused by some bacteria or viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus and retroviruses. Diet is also considered another factor.
Some studies find an increased risk of Type 1 diabetes in infants due to exposure to cow’s milk, high nitrate concentration in potable water, and low exposure to vitamin D.
In very rare cases, diabetes results from diseases that attack the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence; hence, it was formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes.
However, due to the emergence of this type of diabetes in other age groups, the terms using age of onset are no longer accurate.
Several medical risks are linked to Type 1 diabetes.
Aside from the serious risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, damage can occur in the blood vessels of the eyes (diabetic retinopathy), in the nerves (diabetic neuropathy), and in the kidneys (diabetic nephropathy).
It is common that individuals will blame diabetes symptoms on “overworking” or “getting older,” but these are misguided beliefs, of course.
Anyone can have diabetes. When we talk about diabetes, we need to prevent it.
Prevention is always better than cure. And hence, it is absolutely necessary to screen for the disease if one is at a great risk for it. Earlier detection can prevent serious diabetes complications.
For Type 1 diabetes, the symptoms develop very quickly and show in a matter of weeks.
The symptoms may initially be mistaken for flu or similar illnesses. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes exhibit the following symptoms:
1. Frequent urination – This may be all the more observable during night-time when the kidneys work extra hard to flush out the excess sugar in the blood. This is accompanied by flushing out more water. Urination therefore gets rid of excess sugar and water. Doing it frequently indicates a high blood sugar level.
2. Insatiable thirst – The more water you lose through urination or sweating, the more dehydrated the cells in your body become. Frequent urination will dehydrate the body faster and cause thirstiness in a person. Dehydration may lead to dry skin and parched mouths.
3. Unexplained weight loss – This may occur due to dehydration or when all of the sugar in the blood is flushed out in urine instead of being used for energy by the cells of the body.
4. Increased hunger – which follows when the calories supposed to be used by the body for energy is flushed out in the urine instead.
5. Changes in the vision – Blurriness may occur as a result of sugar build-up in the lens of the eyes incurring a change in lens shape.
6. Lethargy – Feeling weak, tired and unenthusiastic about accomplishing things all the time follows when blood sugar, which provides the energy to be used by the body is not utilized, but rather expelled out of the system through urination.